We’re all guilty of it. Self-sabotage is one of the easiest games in the book. We reprimand ourselves for embarrassments long gone by or tell our instinct to hush up because we “couldn’t possibly be right.” We come upon an idea and as soon as it begins to take shape, we shoot it down because of a fear of reproach, inability to follow through, potential reactions from those around us, the list goes on. But how to escape this recursive cycle of not-so-supportive thoughts? The first step is to recognize that two little voices are competing for stage time in your head: that of a dreamer and that of a downer. The trick is to be able to distinguish which voice has the mic when the self-talk starts up and to learn how to balance this duality.
The Downer Voice
It is important to see that the “downer voice” is not a bad one. Its job is self-preservation. It’s seen every misstep you’ve made in the past and wants to avoid any and all conflict. It would prefer that you stay static if it means that you’re free from the possibility of being hurt. Its voice is one rooted in fear and doubt, but it is a sensitive realist at heart. This sensitivity to pain is key. If your self-talk is filled with anger (e.g. “how could I do such a stupid thing?!”) check in and see if that lil guy is actually sad about the situation (e.g. “I really wanted to do that well. Now they all think I’m foolish”). Sadness is like a slip-n-slide ride down to anger. Be careful you don’t water the slide if you don’t want to wind up at the end of it.
The Dreamer Voice
An eternal optimist, the “dreamer voice” wants the world for you. It would love to see you enjoy every little bit of your life. It does not know fear. It remembers pain but doesn’t harbor on it. Sometimes it stays quiet – it’s obedient, child-like. So if you shush it, it’s liable to stay mute until you allow it to speak again. It’s the part of you that gets excited about ideas and knows how to get back up after a fall. Let it play every once in a while to replenish your energy when reserves are low.
Striking the Balance
Let the dreamer reach out to the downer when it starts to scream for attention. The downer brings up concerns that the dreamer can address. Where one sees problems, the other finds possibilities. Allow the dreamer to work in tandem with the other voice, not against it. Instead of ignoring the murmurs of the sensitive one, accept the fears that it brings up and choose to face them proudly. Invite the idealist out again if its been a while since last you spoke. Let it put a little love in your heart.